Things at Babel haven’t been running smoothly for a while, but now version 7 is ready:
“After almost 2 years, 4k commits, over 50 pre-releases, and a lot of help we are excited to announce the release of Babel 7. It’s been almost 3 years since the release of Babel 6! There’s a lot of moving parts so please bear with us in the first weeks of release.”
It is still the case that there are many legacy browsers that can’t cope with ES2015, but all of the current browsers can. The use case for Babel is a lot less compelling than it was and it makes the whole idea of putting a compiler between you and the final code a lot less attractive.
Of course, if you have to support older browsers then this is a good choice and arguably much better than including polyfils – although Babel does have to use polyfil code to support some features.
So what is new?
There are a range of breaking changes to configuration and use and there is a new tool to help in porting to the new version. There are ES2018 and Stage 3, 2 and 1 features but, as the announcement says, these are subject to change.
If you are a Babel user then you can now compile TypeScript, but notice that you won’t get TypeScript’s type checking.
An experimental system for loading only the polyfils that are needed is now available to slim your code down.
So does Babel have a future?
I’m not as convinced.